If you’re planning a trip to Bali, Indonesia and want to ensure that you are surrounded by the Balinese culture while still having the safety net of staying in a city that caters to tourists, Ubud is your best bet. While the city of Ubud is big with tourists, it still offers an authentic experience and fair prices. There are ample things to do in this city, but here are five things you’ll want to make sure you add to your itinerary.
Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest
This temple is home to hundreds of wild Balinese long-tailed monkeys, and I use the word “wild” loosely. The monkeys are allowed to roam freely and are not kept in captivity, so by definition, yes, they are wild. However, there are thousands of tourists that visit the Monkey Forest every month, so they have gotten used to human contact. They won’t be afraid to approach you, especially if you purchased a bunch of bananas at one of the stands. However, this does come with its downfalls. The monkeys aren’t afraid to jump on you if they think they smell food, so make sure you aren’t harboring any snacks on you!
Explore the Tegallalang Rice Terrace
If you have a specific image of rice paddies that you’re picturing in your head, it’s probably the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. This terrace is among the most photographed in Bali due to its atheistic appeal. The rice paddies are stacked diagonally with picturesque stones and flowers weaving through the terrace. For a few small donations, visitors can walk throughout the terrace to get the best views. There is even a restaurant that offers delicious food with an amazing view of the rice terrace.
Experience Authentic Indonesian Food
While Indonesian food can be found throughout Bali, I found that the most authentic and reasonably priced food was in Ubud. Some of the other cities that are overrun with tourists can get away with charging more for subpar food. While Ubud has plenty of tourists, their food hasn’t suffered. Every meal I had in Ubud was delicious, and, while I’m no expert on Indonesian food, I felt like I was experiencing authentic meals.
Hike Mount Batur at Sunrise
This one might not be for the faint of heart. Mount Batur is an active volcano located about an hour drive outside Ubud. Several tour companies offer sunrise hikes up the mountain that include breakfast, transportation to and from the mountain, flashlights, and a tour guide. While this is a popular option among tourists, it is a rather difficult hike. It usually takes about one to two hours to get to the top, but the inclines get steep and the hike up is in the dark. The view from the top is amazing, but the hike to get there is no walk in the park.
See the Temples
Bali’s Hindu temples are located throughout the island. While you can find temples in other towns, there are a lot of nice temples located right in Ubud. If you want to learn about Balinese culture, it is highly recommended that you visit at least one temple as the Balinese are very spiritual people. Make sure you show respect before entering the temples by dressing modestly, and watch your feet as people lay offerings on the ground around temples (and everywhere else for that matter).
Ubud is a great place to visit if you’re looking to learn about Balinese culture. There is so much to see and do, not to mention the amazing food. If you’re planning a trip to Bali, be sure to include Ubud in your itinerary, and spend a few days immersed in Balinese culture.